20-year term expected in shootings
By Ken Kobayashi
Advertiser Courts Writer
By Ken Kobayashi
A 25-year-old man now faces a 20-year prison term for the 2003 fatal shootings of an 'Aiea man and another man killed six days later in Pearl City.
Micah Kanahele had already been found guilty by a jury of manslaughter for the slaying of Greg Morishima, 49, who was gunned down by three masked gunmen in an 'Aiea garage on Oct. 26, 2003.
Yesterday, Kanahele was found guilty of murder and attempted murder after he entered a plea agreement and decided not to contest charges that he fatally shot Guylan Nuuhiwa, 26, and wounded another man in the parking lot of the Longs Drug store in Pearl City on Nov. 1, 2003.
Kanahele was accused as the key defendant in both shootings, which police say were related to drugs.
As part of the plea agreement, Kanahele essentially avoids the potential of serving a life term without parole, the state's harshest sentence.
He agreed to not challenge the manslaughter conviction, and pleaded no contest to the murder and attempted-murder charges. In exchange, city prosecutors agreed to drop a first-degree attempted murder charge related to the parking lot shooting. The charge carries a mandatory life term without parole.
Circuit Judge Michael Town scheduled Kanahele's sentencing for March 1.
The judge will sentence Kanahele to a prison term of 20 years to life.
The Hawai'i Paroling Authority will determine when Kanahele can be released after he serves at least 20 years.
As part of the agreement, prosecutors will recommend to paroling officials that Kanahele serve 20 years. If the paroling authorities decide Kanahele must serve longer than 20 years, he will be able to withdraw his no contest pleas and go to trial on the murder and attempted murder charges.
Kanahele's lawyer, Richard Hoke, said his client entered the agreement to avoid the possibility of a sentence of life without parole. "He's not giving up that much," Hoke said.
City Deputy Prosecutor Lucianne Khalaf said Kanahele took responsibility for the murder and attempted murder at the Longs parking lot. The agreement also preserves the manslaughter conviction in the Morishima slaying, she said.
Reach Ken Kobayashi at email@example.com.